Published On: 26/10/2012|Categories: 2008–2012, Vol.33 (2012), Vol.33 (3)|
Cite as:

Rate this article



A pilot study examined lay people’s willingness to forgive acts that were committed by actors of the armed conflicts in Colombia. The participants (100 persons living in Bogota) were shown vignettes describing cases in which a member of the guerilla or a member of the former paramilitary forces asks for forgiveness to a victim’s family, and were instructed to judge of the degree to which they would be willing to forgive if they were a family member. The concrete cases were constructed using a 3 x 3 x 3 orthogonal design: Degree of Responsibility x Severity of the Negative Acts Committed x Apologies. In half of the cases, the actor was a former member of the guerilla, whereas in the other half the actor was a former member of the paramilitary forces. The four factors had an impact on willingness to forgive, and several meaningful interactions were detected. Overall, a former member of the paramilitary forces has a reasonable chance of being forgiven (a) if he did not directly take part to offenses to people (e.g., killings) or offenses to property perpetrated by his companions, and (b) if he has sincerely begged for forgiveness and offered to partly compensate the harm done. A former member of the guerilla has few chance of being forgiven.

Open Access